Gillian Street: BSc Nutrition, BSc Health Promotion
Halfway through my nutrition-heading-for-dietetics degree I was thrilled when I heard of the introduction of the double degree. I am far more interested in working on programs to help keep people well than I am in treating sick individuals. I enjoy research, networking, organizing, public speaking and education program design and coordination, as well as being interested in the physiological and biochemical aspects of nutrition, and the double degree seemed to cover all these areas.
The nutrition component gave us detailed information about evidence-based nutrition, and changed a lot of my pre-conceived ideas about diet. Health promotion emphasized building skills and confidence for being in the work place from the start. I sometimes found the differences in approach of the two departments challenging. Nutrition squeezed a lot of content into a relatively short period. After being used to the volume of work required for nutrition, I felt that some of the health promotion units could have been condensed. However, in the end I felt that that the double-degree students had the best of both worlds, with a greater range of skills and knowledge, as well as more confidence than the single degree students.
I chose to not try immediately for a single full time job as I had already working part-time for two years as a project coordinator in the area of mental health promotion. I registered a business so that I would have the flexibility of taking paid work or sub-contracting, and I also want to develop nutrition education games and sessions. I am now doing four part-time jobs and have just been offered a fifth. I am a project coordinator, nutrition health program planner for a community centre, research associate and possibly about to become a functions/fundraising coordinator for a drug rehab. These have all been through word-of-mouth, I have not had time to put an up-to-date CV together since I finished my degrees! I think this is partly due to the fact that I did a lot of volunteer work and a lot of networking. There also seems to be an abundance of work available in these areas. I just wish I had a ten day week!